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Council part of joint effort to tackle harvest worker shortage

apple picking

Information sessions will be held at Flaxmere and Camberley community centres on Monday next week in an effort to identify and inform potential harvest workers in the face of the current labour shortage.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Social Development declared a seasonal labour shortage in Hawke’s Bay, in place for a six-week period from February 25 to April 5.

The declaration followed discussions with leaders from the pipfruit industry, industry experts and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and it was estimated the worker shortage was currently in the order of 300 to 400 people.

The declaration will mean people on visitor visas can apply for a variation of conditions enabling them to be employed on orchards and vineyards in the region.

In order to provide local people with information on jobs available, the Hastings District Council has joined forces with the Ministry of Social Development and New Zealand Apples & Pears to run two information sessions at Flaxmere and Camberley community centres.

The aim of the information sessions is to meet with people who are keen to work.

New Zealand Apples & Pears spokesperson Gary Jones said that with a record crop and low unemployment Hawke’s Bay’s horticulture sectors were seeking to engage more closely with local communities.

“We are grateful to Work and Income and Hastings District Council for their support to bring non-Work and Income jobseekers together with employers.”

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said this was a great opportunity to use the council’s Flaxmere and Camberley community centres to bring people together to help with the pipfruit harvest. 

“We are getting the message out about this opportunity for those people looking for work.

“We are really concerned about the situation and want to find a way to support the horticultural sector.”

The information sessions will run at Flaxmere and Camberley community centres on Monday, March 4.

The Camberley session will take place from 9am to 12pm and the Flaxmere session from 2pm to 4pm.

No Work and Income stand down if you work less than 26 weeks

If you’re on a benefit and do seasonal work for no more than 26 weeks (about six months) at a time, you won’t have a stand down if you return to benefit (unless you quit your job). Your payments will start after your final pay finishes.   

This applies if you work full-time or part-time. You can read more about this here

6 March 2019

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